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Darwin-L Message Log 9: 1–50 — May 1994

Academic Discussion on the History and Theory of the Historical Sciences

Darwin-L was an international discussion group on the history and theory of the historical sciences, active from 1993–1997. Darwin-L was established to promote the reintegration of a range of fields all of which are concerned with reconstructing the past from evidence in the present, and to encourage communication among scholars, scientists, and researchers in these fields. The group had more than 600 members from 35 countries, and produced a consistently high level of discussion over its several years of operation. Darwin-L was not restricted to evolutionary biology nor to the work of Charles Darwin, but instead addressed the entire range of historical sciences from an explicitly comparative perspective, including evolutionary biology, historical linguistics, textual transmission and stemmatics, historical geology, systematics and phylogeny, archeology, paleontology, cosmology, historical geography, historical anthropology, and related “palaetiological” fields.

This log contains public messages posted to the Darwin-L discussion group during May 1994. It has been lightly edited for format: message numbers have been added for ease of reference, message headers have been trimmed, some irregular lines have been reformatted, and error messages and personal messages accidentally posted to the group as a whole have been deleted. No genuine editorial changes have been made to the content of any of the posts. This log is provided for personal reference and research purposes only, and none of the material contained herein should be published or quoted without the permission of the original poster.

The master copy of this log is maintained in the Darwin-L Archives (rjohara.net/darwin) by Dr. Robert J. O’Hara. The Darwin-L Archives also contain additional information about the Darwin-L discussion group, the complete Today in the Historical Sciences calendar for every month of the year, a collection of recommended readings on the historical sciences, and an account of William Whewell’s concept of “palaetiology.”


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DARWIN-L MESSAGE LOG 9: 1-50 -- MAY 1994
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<9:1>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu  Sun May  1 00:21:26 1994

Date: Sun, 01 May 1994 01:21:45 -0500 (EST)
From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu
Subject: List owner's monthly greeting
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Organization: University of NC at Greensboro

Greetings to all Darwin-L subscribers.  On the first of every month I send
out a short note on the status of our group with a reminder of basic commands.
Darwin-L is eight months old, and we have more than 575 members from nearly
30 countries.  I am grateful to all of you for your interest and your many
contributions.

Several subscribers have asked me to remind all participants to please sign
their messages with a name and e-mail address, and to take an extra moment if
necessary to format their messages carefully so that none of the lines are
longer than eighty characters.  Why should one bother to sign each message
with name and e-mail address when this information appears in the message
header?  If the information _did_ always appear in the message header there
would be no need to, but the fact is that many people receive their mail on
systems that delete the original sender's address from the message header when
the message arrives from Darwin-L.  People reading their mail on such systems
only see "Darwin-L" as the source of the message, and unless the original
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The Darwin-L gopher archive is open to all subscribers on rjohara.uncg.edu
(numeric address 152.13.44.19); it contains the logs of our past discussions,
several bibliographies of interest to historical scientists, and gateways to
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The following are the most frequently used listserv commands that Darwin-L
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If you feel burdened by the volume of mail you receive from Darwin-L you
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I thank you all for your continuing interest in Darwin-L.

Bob O'Hara, Darwin-L list owner

Robert J. O'Hara (darwin@iris.uncg.edu)
Center for Critical Inquiry and Department of Biology
100 Foust Building, University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Greensboro, North Carolina 27412 U.S.A.

_______________________________________________________________________________

<9:2>From sturkel@cosy.nyit.edu  Mon May  2 09:39:29 1994

Date: Mon, 2 May 1994 10:27:28 -0400
From: sturkel@cosy.nyit.edu
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: Re: Vitamin C and "need"

I wonder if it is really as easy to lose a complex biochemical
system as some of the respondees to the Vitamin C question suggest.

In complex systems many of the subcycles utilize enzymes found in other
systems.  Thus, by changing or eliminating these enzymes other cell
systems are effect.  In addition, many of the intermediary products
act as substrates in other systems, and their absence may produce
problems for the organism.  Lastly, if a system is effected at one
of its intermediary steps, the substrate no longer acted upon by the
appropriate enzyme may acculumate to toxic levels.

It was suggested that 60million years is adequate to lose a system
through evolution.  If all the primates lack the ability to manufacture
Vitamin C, then it is the ancestral group, apparently during the
cretaceous, which lost this ability.  Therefore, we don't know how long
it really took.  On the other hand, what evidence is there that early
mammals actually had this capacity?

Scurvy is quite rare in human populations.  Excluding the rather dramatic
but very infrequent sea voyages in the past, scurvy is generally only found
with other deficiencies and is a sign of general nutritional shortages.  But
humans are not really frugivorous.

What is the distribution of Vitamin C synthesis which actually supports the
notion that you lose it if you don't use it?

spencer turkel
life science dept.
nyit
sturkel@cosy.nyit.edu

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<9:3>From antdadx@gsusgi2.gsu.edu  Mon May  2 17:11:52 1994

From: antdadx@gsusgi2.gsu.edu (Deborah Duchon)
Subject: Re: Vitamin C and "need"
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Date: Mon, 2 May 1994 18:12:44 -0500 (EDT)

Thank you, SPencer. Well stated.
--

Deborah Duchon
antdadx@gsusgi2.gsu.edu
Georgia State University
404/651-1038

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<9:4>From WTUCKER@BOOTES.UNM.EDU  Mon May  2 18:41:23 1994

Date: Mon, 2 May 1994 17:38 MST
From: WTUCKER@BOOTES.UNM.EDU
Subject: Re: Vitamin C and "need"
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

In partial response to Spencer Turkel, the rapidity with which the
ability to synthesize Vitamin C was lost in many frugivores is good
evidence for a metabolic cost of some significance of the ability.  I
do not believe that anyone hypothesizes, as you suggest, that all
mammalian species lacking the ability to synthesize Vitamin C are
descended from a single ancestor.  Rather, convergent evolution is the
likely mechanism.  Both drift (the force favored by most posters on
this list so far) and natural selection (the force I suggested in an
earlier posting) are possible causes of convergent evolution.  A relatively
simple multiple regression analysis of a large sample of organisms that
consume a lot of dietary Vitamin C could disentangle these hypotheses.
Clutton-Brock, Harvey, and their students have done a lot of work like
this with a myriad of other species characteristics.  I no of noone
who has tried this with Vitamin C synthesis.

W. Troy Tucker
Department of Anthropology
University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131
e-mail WTucker@Bootes.UNM.EDU  (Internet)

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<9:5>From stef@pipeline.com  Mon May  2 20:07:44 1994

Date: Mon, 2 May 1994 21:03:16 -0400 (EDT)
From: Steve Miller <stef@pipeline.com>
Subject: Re: Species/Linguistic Death
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

We see lots of stuff on species disappearing and we also hear from time
to time to languages being threatened - yet we never hear about the
opposite, radiation or creation of species and languages.  I can
understand someof the difficulties with documenting newly emerging
phenomena.  But should we assume that the processes that create new
languages and species have more or less ceased to work?

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<9:6>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu  Mon May  2 20:09:08 1994

Date: Mon, 02 May 1994 21:09:25 -0500 (EST)
From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu
Subject: May 2 -- Today in the Historical Sciences
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Organization: University of NC at Greensboro

MAY 2 -- TODAY IN THE HISTORICAL SCIENCES

1551: WILLIAM CAMDEN is born in London, England.  Camden will study at
St. Paul's School and Oxford University, where his interest in antiquities
will begin to develop.  Following the example of an earlier generation of
continental European antiquarians, Camden will travel widely throughout
the British Isles, collecting and describing Roman remains, transcribing
inscriptions, and searching through ecclesiastical and public archives.
The product of his labors, _Britannia_ (London, 1586), will be the first
comprehensive historical and topographical survey of British antiquities,
and it will establish a new standard of scholarship for an entire generation
of British historians.

Today in the Historical Sciences is a feature of Darwin-L, an international
network discussion group on the history and theory of the historical sciences.
For more information about Darwin-L send the two-word message INFO DARWIN-L to
listserv@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu, or gopher to rjohara.uncg.edu (152.13.44.19).

_______________________________________________________________________________

<9:7>From rfodden@epas.utoronto.ca  Mon May  2 22:08:11 1994

Date: Mon, 2 May 1994 23:07:50 -0400 (EDT)
From: Rebecca Fodden <rfodden@epas.utoronto.ca>
Subject: Re: Species/Linguistic Death
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

On Mon, 2 May 1994, Steve Miller wrote:

> We see lots of stuff on species disappearing and we also hear from time
> to time to languages being threatened - yet we never hear about the
> opposite, radiation or creation of species and languages.  I can
> understand someof the difficulties with documenting newly emerging
> phenomena.  But should we assume that the processes that create new
> languages and species have more or less ceased to work?

Steve: It seems to me that evolutionary theory only works in hindsight.
We take a situation as it is now, and tell a story about how it could
have gotten to this stage.  If we're lucky, we find a story that fits
with all our evidence -- saves the phenomena, so to speak.  Becuause it's
not the kind of theory that allows for predictions (in a sense, to say
that something "survived" is to say no more than that it must have been
"fittest", and vice versa), the kind of forward-looking project you
describe seems to me not within the reach of evolutionary theory.

I'm writing a philosophy of science paper right now on explanation, and
the asymmetry of explanation and prediction in evolutionary theory is
intersting to me.  If you (or anybody) wants to talk about this that
would be great.

Rebecca Fodden,
Grad. Student of Philosophy at UofT
rfodden@epas.utoronto.ca

_______________________________________________________________________________

<9:8>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu  Mon May  2 22:57:33 1994

Date: Mon, 02 May 1994 23:57:51 -0500 (EST)
From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu
Subject: Re: Species/Linguistic Death
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Organization: University of NC at Greensboro

Following up an earlier message about linguistic and biological extinction,
Steve Miller asks whether the processes that create new species and
languages have ceased to operate today.  Not at all.  The evolutionary
processes that produce species -- mutation, recombination, drift, selection,
geographical isolation, and so on -- all operate today, and details about
them can be found in any good textbook on evolutionary biology.  The idea
that "evolution has stopped" is a misconception one often encounters in
popular writing, and even in some of the older technical literature.  It
comes from a very strong tendency people have to view historical processes
teleologically.  The same basic fallacy can be observed in writing on civil
history also, where many authors over the years have written as though their
own time period represented "the end of history".  (There's even an episode
of the comic strip _Calvin and Hobbes_ that makes this point.  Calvin says
something like "I have concluded that history is a force.  Its irresistable
tide sweeps all men and institutions along one course.  Everything serves
history's single purpose."  Hobbes inquires rather skeptically just what
this purpose is, and Calvin replies "Why, to produce _me_ of course: I'm the
end result of history.")

I'm not a professional linguist, but as far as I know the linguistic answer
to this question is similar to the evolutionary answer.  (Actually, if any
of our linguists could quote or point me to examples of linguistic teleology
of the sort described above I would be grateful.  This is another common
theme that cuts across the historical sciences.  Not only do we sometimes
have the same insights, we also sometimes make the same errors.)

Bob O'Hara, Darwin-L list owner

Robert J. O'Hara (darwin@iris.uncg.edu)
Center for Critical Inquiry and Department of Biology
100 Foust Building, University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Greensboro, North Carolina 27412 U.S.A.

_______________________________________________________________________________

<9:9>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu  Mon May  2 23:43:27 1994

Date: Tue, 03 May 1994 00:43:43 -0500 (EST)
From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu
Subject: Historical explanation
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Organization: University of NC at Greensboro

Rebecca Fodden asks about the nature of explanation in the historical sciences,
an interesting topic indeed.  It seemed to me that this general question had
come up once before in the early days of the list, so I fished through the logs
and found an earlier posting of mine that tried to sketch a rough and ready
outline the topic as a whole.  I reprint most of that message below, and would
welcome any additional contributions relating to it, especially from anyone who
may be familiar with the current literature on explanation in linguistics or
history.  (Has explanation ever been a topic of philosophical interest in
geology?)

This message was originally a response to messages posted by Tom Cravens and
George Gale.

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<2:160>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu  Sat Oct 30 00:33:32 1993

Date: Sat, 30 Oct 1993 01:39:45 -0400 (EDT)
From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu
Subject: Some notes on historical explanation
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Organization: University of NC at Greensboro

[...]

As Tom noted, the whole topic of explanation is a huge can of worms, but it is
an interesting and delectible one.  I think there's lots of room for important
and innovative work here, because much of what has been written about
explanation in the historical sciences has used models of explanation that
were developed originally in the context of the non-historical experimental
and physical sciences.  One of the things I have tried to do in my own work is
explore some of the literature on explanation in history generally, and from
what I have seen there are a lot of ideas in that literature that could be
fruitfully applied to problems in the historical sciences.  While many people
in the historical sciences have some familiarity with the philosophy of
science, the philosophy of _history_ remains a very small and very much
under-studied field for reasons that largely escape me.  Anyone who wants to
consider philosophical issues in the historical sciences, though, really ought
to delve into the philosophy of history, because that's where the most
relevant work will be found, in my opinion.

What follows is just brief sketch-map of the territory to supplement what
George already posted; it may help people orient themselves with respect to
the topic and provide a few useful references.


One of most important early twentieth-century views of historical explanation
and understanding, usually associated with the work of Robin Collingwood
(1946), was the "reenactment" view: we understand the actions of Caesar when
we can reenact in our own minds the thoughts he had, and see how they led him
to take the actions that he took.  The development of a sense of sympathetic
understanding has always been considered important by historians, and
Collingwood's reenactment notion attempts to capture this.  But this is in
many respects the least interesting view of historical explanation and
understanding from the point of view of the historical sciences, because
"history" for Collingwood was only the history of human actions: the earth has
no "history" for him, because it is not a rational being whose mind we can
enter.  This is clearly a very narrow definition of "history", and Toulmin &
Goodfield responded to it quite effectively in the introduction to their book
_The Discovery of Time_ (1965).

During the mid-twentieth century most discussion of historical explanation
focussed on the so-called covering law model of explanation that George Gale
mentioned.  This model of explanation is usually associated with Carl Hempel,
who tried to extend it from its original home in the physical sciences into
history in a very influential paper published in 1942.  Much of this work is
considered old hat nowadays, but it was important because it drove a number of
people who didn't like Hempel's project to examine carefully just what
historical explanation and understanding were like, under the assumption they
were not just immature versions of physics as Hempel had seemed to imply.

Beginning in the 1950s, partly in reaction to Hempel, a number of people began
developing autonomous theories of historical explanation and understanding
under the general rubric of "analytical philosophy of history".  Some of the
principal actors involved were (and are) William Dray, Morton White, Arthur
Danto, Louis Mink, William Gallie, Patrick Gardner, W. H. Walsh, and Alan
Donagan; if you search a good library catalog under these names you will turn
up lots of titles.  Recent collections of the work of these people that I have
found particularly useful include Dray (1989) and Mink (1987).  With regard to
narrative representation (though not necessarily explanation) I have found,
and continue to find, Danto's _Narration and Knowledge_ (1985) very valuable.

The analytical philosophers of history tried to characterize a number of kinds
of explanations used in historical writing in addition to the covering-law
type discussed by Hempel.  These included narratives, continuous series
explanations, integrating explanations, how-possibly explanations, and others.
David Hull, a noted philosopher of evolutionary biology, wrote a very nice
paper (1975) on integrating explanations that deserves more attention than it
has had; and I've applied Dray's notion of "how-possibly" explanations to
evolutionary biology in one of my own papers (1988).

Some of the most recent work in these areas has been influenced by literary
theories of narrative.  People like Hayden White and Paul Ricoeur are
important in this context, though I have tended to find this work less
accessible to me as a scientist than the earlier work of Danto, Dray, and
their allies.

This is just the briefest of sketches; there is a good deal of recent
literature in these areas that I have not followed closely.  The journal
_History and Theory_ (the principal journal in philosophy of history)
regularly publishes papers on all aspects of historical explanation and
understanding, and is a good place to look to find out what's going on.

Literature cited above:

Collingwood, Robin G.  1946.  _The Idea of History_.  Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Danto, Arthur C.  1985.  _Narration and Knowledge_.  New York: Columbia
University Press.

Dray, William.  1989.  _On History and Philosophers of History_.  Leiden: E.
J. Brill.  (Excellent volume of selected papers.)

Hempel, Carl G.  1942.  The function of general laws in history.  _Journal of
Philosophy_, 39:35-48.  (Reprinted in Hempel's selected papers volume, the
title of which I don't recall.)

Hull, David L.  1975.  Central subjects and historical narratives.  _History
and Theory_, 14:253-274.  (Reprinted in Hull's selected papers volume _The
Metaphysics of Evolution_, 1989.)

Mink, Louis O.  1987.  _Historical Understanding_ (B. Fay, E. O. Golub, & R.
T. Vann, eds.).  Ithaca: Cornell University Press.  (Excellent volume of
selected papers.)

O'Hara, Robert J.  1988.  Homage to Clio, or, toward an historical philosophy
for evolutionary biology.  _Systematic Zoology_, 37:142-155.

Toulmin, Stephen E., & June Goodfield.  1965.  _The Discovery of Time_.  New
York: Harper and Row.  (Reprinted by University of Chicago Press.  The single
best book on the historical sciences, in my opinion.)


Bob O'Hara, Darwin-L list owner

Robert J. O'Hara (darwin@iris.uncg.edu)
Center for Critical Inquiry and Department of Biology
100 Foust Building, University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Greensboro, North Carolina 27412 U.S.A.

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<9:10>From CRAVENS@macc.wisc.edu  Tue May  3 06:35:40 1994

Date: Tue, 03 May 94 06:35 CDT
From: Tom Cravens <CRAVENS@macc.wisc.edu>
Subject: Re: Species/Linguistic Death
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

Teleology of language change (development, evolution [!?]) is a hot
topic in historical linguistics--and a large can of worms, with positions
often conditioned more by theoretical presupposition than by objective
analysis of data. In my experience, language creation is less hot and
less controversial, although debate can degenerate into (what appear to be
on the surface of it, and to some extent, I think, are) terminological
squabbles (e.g. language - dialect). There are folks on the list with far
more expertise than mine on these matters, though, so I'll just point
interested non-linguists to some background reading. Both of these
books suffer from a disinclination to consider work not published in
English, and both tend to ignore or give slight shrift to minority
positions, but most basic concepts are there, and discussed clearly.

Aitchison, Jean. 1991. Language change: progress or decay? Cambridge: CUP.
	Elementary, but not as elementary as it seems at first glance. A.
	is just very good at synthesizing clearly. Chapters of especial
	interest might be 8 and 9 on causes of change, 10 and 11 on
	teleology, 13 and 14 on language birth and death, respectively.

Less elementary and perhaps better for orientation to the problems of
teleology and birth/death at a greater level of understanding is

McMahon, April M.S. 1994. Understanding language change. Cambridge: CUP.
	The table of contents is sufficient guide. List members might
	find chapter 12, entitled "Linguistic evolution?" to be especially
	interesting. See also, perhaps, subcategorization of language death
	as language suicide and language murder.

Tom Cravens
cravens@macc.wisc.edu
cravens@wiscmacc.bitnet

_______________________________________________________________________________

<9:11>From peter@usenix.org  Tue May  3 07:24:41 1994

Date: Tue, 3 May 94 05:24:53 PDT
From: peter@usenix.org (Peter H. Salus)
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: Re: Species/Linguistic Death

Far be it from me to criticize Tom Cravens' views of wwhom
to read on linguistic teleology, but I would start with
the two superb works by Michael Shapiro (both Indiana
U. Press), then Raimo Anttila's recent writings.  Both
of them will lead the reader to interesting European work
slighted by the Anglo-American majoritarians.  An easy
way to slide into this may be via my review of Shapiro
in Am.J. Semiotics 5 (1987) 171-177.  [this is a paid ad.]

Peter H. Salus

_______________________________________________________________________________

<9:12>From BONN@nickel.laurentian.ca  Tue May  3 07:51:14 1994

Date: Tue, 03 May 1994 08:50:31 -0500 (EST)
From: "Bonnie Blackwell, (519)253-4232x2502" <BONN@nickel.laurentian.ca>
Subject: Re: Species/Linguistic Death
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

on the contrary we hear almost daily about new species being recognized.
unfortunately, most of them are bacteria and viruses.  the recent
development (and publicity) of the many antibiotic resistant bacteria
(i.e. pneumonia, tuberculosis, etc.), the host of new viruses (esp.
flu) every year are examples of radiation.  another obvious (and
well publicized especially in Europe) example is the "crazy cow"
pathogen that "jumped the species barrier".  another example that may
prove very to be very well publicized in the near future is the return
of the potato blight that caused the 1840's famine in Ireland that has
resurfaced in a form that apparently is resistant to the various pesticides
developed to control the original blight.
bonnie blackwell

_______________________________________________________________________________

<9:13>From BONN@nickel.laurentian.ca  Tue May  3 08:09:14 1994

Date: Tue, 03 May 1994 09:07:48 -0500 (EST)
From: "Bonnie Blackwell, (519)253-4232x2502" <BONN@nickel.laurentian.ca>
Subject: Re: Species/Linguistic Death
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

I also would argue that the development of "black" english over the
last few centuries in the US (mainly) is the result of linguistic
evolution.  granted thatthis may only be a dialect at the moment,
given cultural isolation, it might develop into a full blown language.
certainly some of its grammatical rules are already different from
english.

Both black and mainstream english continue to evolve.  if you asked
a person born in 1800 to try to understand our current vernacular
english, they would be unable to grasp more than 20-30%.  partly this
is a function of technological change that has added a host of new
terms to the language (i.e. tv, telephone, fax, video, computers, etc.)
that include new words in all grammatical categories (verbs, nouns, etc)
we have also added hundreds of cultural references that are unique to
our times.  for example, "latch-key kids", or "politically correct speech"
imply a host of cultural references that someone from the past would not
understand.  the list is endless.  one excellent example of the evolution
of the language is the use of adverbs by speakers (and writers) of US
english (which is now beginning to become a feature of Canadian spoken
english too).  It is almost impossible to hear the word "really" used
as a modifier of an adjective these days, rather than the more common
"real", often used in the phrases "real good", "real fast", etc.
more recently, the trend in the US has been to begin to drop the "ly"
from many adverbs being used in all usages.  I predict that within
20 years, the formal adverb will be dead in spoken english in the US.
It may hold on for another 100 or so years in written english, but it
will eventually be as dead as "thee", "thine", and "thy".

_______________________________________________________________________________

<9:14>From peter@usenix.org  Tue May  3 08:26:31 1994

Date: Tue, 3 May 94 06:26:43 PDT
From: peter@usenix.org (Peter H. Salus)
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: Re: Species/Linguistic Death

My apologies.  The citation I gave was my review of
Shapiro's first volume.  My review of the second
was in Am.J. Semiotics 8 (1991) 107-115.

Peter

_______________________________________________________________________________

<9:15>From CRAVENS@macc.wisc.edu  Tue May  3 08:38:19 1994

Date: Tue, 03 May 94 08:38 CDT
From: Tom Cravens <CRAVENS@macc.wisc.edu>
Subject: Re: Species/Linguistic Death
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

I fully agree with Peter Salus' recommendations re teleology in
language change. My intent in recommending the introductory textbooks
was to ease people into the material, so that those with little or no
knowledge of linguistic concepts and controversies could acquire
some field-specific background and perspective, and thus reduce
the chances of disorientation and/or puzzlement (if only terminological)
upon digging into the heavier stuff.

Tom Cravens
cravens@macc.wisc.edu
cravens@wiscmacc.bitnet

_______________________________________________________________________________

<9:16>From sally@isp.pitt.edu  Tue May  3 09:17:04 1994

To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: Re: Species/Linguistic Death
Date: Tue, 03 May 94 10:17:27 -0400
From: Sally Thomason <sally@isp.pitt.edu>

Steve Miller asks if we should assume that the processes that create
new languages have more or less ceased to work.  The answer is no,
but it is of course true that new languages are less likely to emerge
and crystallize and survive in the modern world, with a few major
languages taking over so much geographical and cultural territory.

   There are two ways of getting new languages: gradual language split,
which happens when separated subgroups of a single speech community
develop different dialects and eventually separate languages --
inevitably, once communication has broken down between the two groups.
But for that you need hundreds of years.  Language split is certainly
occurring in many parts of the world, at least at the dialect level
and no doubt at the separate-language level too in some places.

   The other way of getting a new language is by (relatively) sudden
language creation, a response to a social situation in which languages
are in contact.  The most famous contact languages are pidgin and
creole languages (e.g. Haitian Creole, Jamaican Creole, and various
forms of Pidgin English around the world); these arose in new
communities formed of linguistically diverse component groups.  Some
of the speech patterns of guest-workers in Germany and other European
countries show some of the characteristics of pidgin languages, though
they aren't (as far as one can tell) developing into independent
separate language(s).  There are also mixed languages spoken by new
ethnic groups, in situations of at least partial bilingualism.  Michif,
for instance, arose a couple of hundred years ago or so, as the
linguistic manifestation of the Metis population in Canada; its nouns
are almost all French, and its verbs are Cree (an Algonquian language),
and the sounds, word forms, and syntax are divided according to the
chunk of the lexicon too.  Well, that's two hundred years ago.  But
more recently, a speech form...*maybe* one could call it a separate
language, but I don't know how stable it is...arose in Quechua-speaking
territory, among culturally Quechua people who work(ed) in the nearby
city, where they spoke/speak Spanish: the vocabulary of this speech
form, the Media Lengua, is all Spanish, but the grammar, sound structure,
etc., are all Quechua.

   So yes, the processes through which new languages are created
are still operating.  Probably not as pervasively as in past centuries,
though.

     Sally Thomason
     sally@isp.pitt.edu

_______________________________________________________________________________

<9:17>From Robert.Richardson@UC.Edu  Tue May  3 09:35:11 1994

Date: Tue, 03 May 1994 10:34:08 -0500 (EST)
From: "Bob Richardson, University of Cincinnati" <Robert.Richardson@UC.Edu>
Subject: More on Vitamin C
To: Darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

	In an earlier posting, Turkel asks whether "it is really as
easy to lose a complex biochemical system" as some have suggested.  He
points out that both the involvement of enzymes in other reactions,
and the use of intermediaries in other reactions, casts some doubt on
questions of how readily they can be lost.

	As Turkel notices, the discussions so far in this group have not
addressed questions of the polarity of the trait:  what evidence is there,
he asks, that early mammals had the ability to synthesize C?  And if all
or most primates lack the capacity, doesn't that suggest that it was lost in
some ancestral group?

	These strike me as good questions.  Then Tucker responds, more
recently:

>In partial response to Spencer Turkel, the rapidity with which the
>ability to synthesize Vitamin C was lost in many frugivores is good
>evidence for a metabolic cost of some significance of the ability.  I do
>not believe that anyone hypothesizes, as [Turkel] suggest[s], that all
>mammalian species lacking the ability to synthesize Vitamin C are
>descended from a single ancestor.  Rather, convergent evolution is the
>likely mechanism.  Both drift (the force favored by most posters on this
>list so far) and natural selection (the force I suggested in an earlier
>posting) are possible causes of convergent evolution.  A relatively simple
>multiple regression analysis of a large sample of organisms that consume
>a lot of dietary Vitamin C could disentangle these hypotheses.

It is not this easy.  (1)  Do we have any independent estimate of the
"metabolic cost" aside from the (supposed) loss of the ability to synthesize
Vitamin C, which it is supposed to explain?  (2) Turkel's actual suggestion,
I think, was that if all/most primates lack the ability to synthesize vitamin
C, then that suggests that it was lost in some ancestral group.  Why should we
accept that convergent evolution is the [more] likely mechanism?

One thing that seems to be lacking is information about what trait is
ancestral and what is derived.  Is there anything bearing directly on this
question?

To shift directions a bit, disentangling the hypotheses of drift and
selection is not as easy as suggested.  Assuming that the evolved trait
is the loss of vitamin C synthesis, the best analysis I know of would
require knowing (a) mutation rates, (b) the number of loci involved,
(c) the number of loci necessary to block the pathway, (d) the time
span involved, and (e) the relevant effective population sizes.  (The work
derives from Sewell Wright, but the source I'd recommend is Russel Lande,
"Natural Selection and Random Genetic Drift in Phenotypic Evolution,"
Evolution 30 (1976):  314-34.)  How much of this do we know in the case
of the loss of vitamin C?

I'm obviously not suggesting evolution is irrelevant here, any more than
Turkel was.  I am left wondering, though, whether the sort of information
we would need in order to figure out the right evolutionary scenario is
available.  Perhaps someone can fill in the gaps.

Robert C. Richardson

Department of Philosophy ML 374     Richards@UCBEH.Bitnet
University of Cincinnati            Richards@UCBEH.san.uc.edu
Cincinnati OH  45221-0374

Telephone:	513-556-6327
Fax number:	513-556-2939

_______________________________________________________________________________

<9:18>From PICARD@VAX2.CONCORDIA.CA  Tue May  3 10:55:26 1994

Date: Tue, 03 May 1994 11:22:46 -0500 (EST)
From: MARC PICARD <PICARD@VAX2.CONCORDIA.CA>
Subject: Re: Species/Linguistic Death
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

	Every current dialect has the potential of becoming a full-fledged
language given a sufficient amount of time. Phonological, morphological,
syntactic and semantic change are constant, inexorable and irrepressible for
the most part. Mutual comprehension, which is probably the most useful
criterion for establishing the difference between dialect and language, can
cease to exist pretty rapidly when there is little or no contact between
members of an erstwhile speech community that has split up. For example,
Dutch and Afrikaans appear to have become different languages in a
remarkably short time.
	The same forces that turned Latin into various dialects and, with
time, into French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Catalan, Rumanian, etc.,
are now at work on the latter so that the French, Spanish and Portuguese
of the New World, for instance, are irrevocably becoming less and less
comprehensible to their Old World cousins (and vice versa).
	The next time you see subtitles when people in Northern Ireland
or Australia are being interviewed for North American news broadcasts and
documentaries, you can take this as a sign of things to come.

Marc Picard

_______________________________________________________________________________

<9:19>From schoenem@qal.berkeley.edu  Tue May  3 14:14:50 1994

Date: Tue, 3 May 1994 12:08:59 -0700 (PDT)
From: Tom Schoenemann <schoenem@qal.Berkeley.EDU>
Subject: Re: More on Vitamin C
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

If some species do not create their own Vitamin C, but share the rest of
their biochemistry with related species, there must be, by definintion,
some enzyme or set of enzymes (specific only to Vitamin C production)
lacking in the biochemical pathway of Vitamin C production.  The DNA that
codes for this enzyme, like all DNA, is subject to random mutation, and
the number of ways of disabling it is always much higher than the number
of ways of making it "better," and it will therefore have a very high
likelihood of being destroyed by this process (i.e., an increasingly large
number of defective genes drifting through the population).

Sure, there are a number of enzymes that affect more than one biochemical
process, and deleterious mutations in these enzymes will not make it
through the sieve of selection, but there must be something specific to
Vitamin C, or there wouldn't be any species that don't produce it.

If the enzymatic pathways are really as intricate as some have suggested,
then it becomes highly unlikely that ANY change would occur, since the
extra cost of producing Vitamin C would likely be trivial in comparison to
the cost of tweaking an interrelated web of enzymes.  We would have to
show that there is some significant cost to leaving the Vitamin C pathway
intact.

The point is that there is no a priori reason to suspect that the loss of
some adaptation is necessarily due to selection.

P. Tom Schoenemann
Department of Anthropology
University of California, Berkeley
(schoenem@qal.berkeley.edu)

_______________________________________________________________________________

<9:20>From schoenem@qal.berkeley.edu  Tue May  3 14:32:17 1994

Date: Tue, 3 May 1994 12:26:27 -0700 (PDT)
From: Tom Schoenemann <schoenem@qal.Berkeley.EDU>
Subject: Evolution of bodies but not minds
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

I have a general question I would like to float.  I periodically get
literature from an organization called the National Center for Science
Education based here in berkeley that is basically an advocacy group that
works to expand and increase the quality of teaching on evolutionary
theory in public schools.  Their literature argues, as I think those of
us on this list would agree, that it is essential that evolutionary
thinking be emphasized in the school systems around the country.

What has always puzzled me, however, is that Lewontin and Gould are both
listed as supporting members.  I find this interesting because both Gould
and Lewontin (but particularly the latter) believe that the application
of evolutionary theory to human BEHAVIOR is misguided, dangerous, etc.
In fact it seems to be generally true that scientists are very quick to
argue that our physical bodies evolved, but very slow to take seriously
the position that our behavior is the result of evolution as well.

One example of this fact can be seen in the arguments about the incest
taboo.  In apparently all other species where this has been investigated,
there are behavioral mechanisms (which can vary from species to species)
to ensure outbreeding.  We also are quite clear on the detrimental
effects of inbreeding, both in the short and long run.  Yet many
academics, including Lewontin, believe that the human incest taboo has no
biological influence at all, and is not the modern result of perhaps a
billion years of selection against inbreeding.

Regardless of whether or not people accept the sociobiological argument
on the incest taboo, I am more interested in a separate question: For
those like Lewontin and Gould, who reject the notion that evolutionary
biology can have significant explanatory power for behavior in general
(and human behavior in particular), exactly what is so crucial about
getting the public to believe that their bodies evolved, given that they
don't at the same time have to extend this thinking to their minds?  Put
another way, if the public were to continue to believe that their minds
were the result of special creation (either by a god or by themselves),
how would the world be a better place if we convinced them that their
bodies were the result of evolution?  What practical benefits would one
expect to see from such a state of affairs?

Any thoughts?

P. Tom Schoenemann
Department of Anthropology
University of California, Berkeley
(schoenem@qal.berkeley.edu)

_______________________________________________________________________________

<9:21>From BONN@nickel.laurentian.ca  Tue May  3 15:17:38 1994

Date: Tue, 03 May 1994 16:14:55 -0500 (EST)
From: "Bonnie Blackwell, (519)253-4232x2502" <BONN@nickel.laurentian.ca>
Subject: Re: Species/Linguistic Death
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

I might have thought that much of the separation of say French and Quebecois
occurred in the early years of colonization, rather than recently.  With modern
global communications, I would have thought that French and Quebecois were
converging somewhat or at least not diverging.  Comments?
bonnie

_______________________________________________________________________________

<9:22>From jerry@supra.com  Tue May  3 16:03:14 1994

From: Jerry Koch <jerry@supra.com>
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: re: Re: Species/Linguistic Death
Date: Tue May  3 13:37:46 1994

Marc Picard Writes:

>Every current dialect has the potential of becoming a full-fledged
>language given a sufficient amount of time.

But, I'm not so sure I buy into that.  Sure, all languages in use change.
That's what marks the difference between them and dead languages.  But,
today,  global communications greatly inhibit the isolation that it requires
for dialects to become languages in their own right.  To the contrary, I
believe that as today's technology booms, we will tend to move toward fewer
and fewer languages.  I might even go so far as to suggest that eventually
there will be no motivating factors to sustain more than one world language.

Jerry Koch
jerry@supra.com

_______________________________________________________________________________

<9:23>From sturkel@cosy.nyit.edu  Tue May  3 16:21:45 1994

Date: Tue, 3 May 1994 17:04:13 -0400
From: sturkel@cosy.nyit.edu
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: Re: More on Vitamin C

In respect to the ease of losing Vitamin C synthesis, it is important
to note that very few vertebrates have in fact lost this ability.
This distribution is interesting because Vitamin C is not rare in
the food supply of species that have not lost it.  For example,
fish are good sources of Vitamin C but few piscivores lack the ability
to synthesize.

Similarly, many frugivores are able to synthesis Vitamin C.

Which are the few vertebrates that have lost this ability, and
can this distribution simply be explained by "use it or lose it?"

Primates, some Chiroptera, rodents and about 1 species of bird
seem to be about it.

spencer turkel
life sciences
nyit
sturkel@cosy.nyit.edu

_______________________________________________________________________________

<9:24>From jerry@supra.com  Tue May  3 18:03:32 1994

From: Jerry Koch <jerry@supra.com>
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: re: Re: Species/Linguistic Death
Date: Tue May  3 15:08:26 1994

>From: Bonnie Blackwell
>I might have thought that much of the separation of say French and Quebecois
>occurred in the early years of colonization, rather than recently.  With
>modern global communications, I would have thought that French and Quebecois
>were converging somewhat or at least not diverging.  Comments?

Sure!  Let me give you an example of my theory that you may have noticed in
your own experience.  Say someone from the west coast (USA) visits the east
coast for an extended period (or the south, or anywhere where there is a
noticable difference in dialect).  Upon their return you may find that they
have picked up some of the accent or different use of words.

In language we tend to imitate, to some extent, what we hear.  As
communications improve and expand, we are more apt to hear the same things, and
will then tend to speak the same way.

There are other factors, though, that apply to languages that are totally
different.  For example, in a global economy, we are motivated to communicate,
for trade purposes with as many people as possible.  That requires that either
we learn their language or they learn ours.  It's terribly inefficient to try
to communicate in a wide variety of languages.  I we tend to work toward a
state of improved efficency.

jerry@supra.com

_______________________________________________________________________________

<9:25>From lgorbet@mail.unm.edu  Tue May  3 18:22:35 1994

Date: Tue, 3 May 1994 17:22:54 -0700
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
From: lgorbet@mail.unm.edu (Larry Gorbet)
Subject: re: Re: Species/Linguistic Death

Jerry Koch writes:

>Marc Picard Writes:
>>       Every current dialect has the potential of becoming a full-fledged
>>language given a sufficient amount of time.
>
>But, I'm not so sure I buy into that.  Sure, all languages in use change.
>That's what marks the difference between them and dead languages.  But,
>today,  global communications greatly inhibit the isolation that it requires
>for dialects to become languages in their own right.  To the contrary, I
>believe that as today's technology booms, we will tend to move toward fewer
>and fewer languages.  I might even go so far as to suggest that eventually
>there will be no motivating factors to sustain more than one world language.

But, as presently constituted, global communications is largely one-sided
in the sense that it is mostly conducted in the "big" languages, not the
"little" ones and, equally importantly, in the "big" varieties (dialects
etc.) of the "big" lgs., not the "little" ones. So the effect is to make
certain varieties of language widespread, but with much less impact on
contact between most dialects. Thus there is minimal contact between, say,
the English of northern Louisiana and that of northern England, not to even
mention that of Singapore or of New Zealand. Since the English of broadcast
and most widely-distributed movies etc. is not inclusive of all domains of
language use, it is certainly possible for there to be continuing
divergence of many varieties. IF the social and cultural forces that favor
that divergence (or at least do not favor convergence to the "world"
varieties) are sufficient. I think the impact of global communications on
future language convergence will be determined more by its effects on
attitudes toward ethnicity and other socio-cultural domains than by its
narrowly linguistic effects. After all, the split of Latin into the various
Romance languages did not take place in the absence of language contact
and, in fact, took place where there was continued use of Latin over most
of the range.

Larry Gorbet                         lgorbet@mail.unm.edu
Anthropology & Linguistics Depts.    (505) 883-7378
University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM, U.S.A.

_______________________________________________________________________________

<9:26>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu  Tue May  3 18:52:52 1994

Date: Tue, 03 May 1994 19:53:12 -0500 (EST)
From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu
Subject: May 3 -- Today in the Historical Sciences
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Organization: University of NC at Greensboro

MAY 3 -- TODAY IN THE HISTORICAL SCIENCES

1809: LAURENT-GUILLAUME DE KONINCK is born at Louvain, Belgium.  Following
study in medicine and science at the University of Louvain, De Koninck will
accept positions teaching chemistry, first at the University of Ghent, and
later at the University of Liege where he will remain until his death in 1887.
Although his formal instructional responsibilities will nearly always be in
chemistry, De Koninck will be remembered primarily as a paleontologist.  His
extensive work on the Carboniferous fossils of Europe will come together in
his _Description des animaux fossiles qui se trouvent dans le terrain
carbonifere de la Belgique_ (Liege, 1843-44) and his comprehensive _Faune du
calcaire carbonifere de la Belgique_ (1878-87).  Many of De Koninck's books
and early specimens will be purchased by Louis Agassiz in the 1860s, and
Agassiz will make them the core of his newly-founded Museum of Comparative
Zoology at Harvard University.

Today in the Historical Sciences is a feature of Darwin-L, an international
network discussion group for professionals in the historical sciences.  For
more information about Darwin-L send the two-word message INFO DARWIN-L to
listserv@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu, or gopher to rjohara.uncg.edu (152.13.44.19).

_______________________________________________________________________________

<9:27>From azlerner@midway.uchicago.edu  Tue May  3 19:29:24 1994

Date: Tue, 3 May 94 19:29:49 CDT
From: "Asia "I work in mysterious ways" Lerner" <azlerner@midway.uchicago.edu>
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: Re:  Evolution of bodies but not minds

You wrote:

  What has always puzzled me, however, is that Lewontin and Gould are both
  listed as supporting members.  I find this interesting because both Gould
  and Lewontin (but particularly the latter) believe that the application
  of evolutionary theory to human BEHAVIOR is misguided, dangerous, etc.

Please show the necessary logical connection between the belief in biological
evolution and the belief in behavioral evolution.

  In fact it seems to be generally true that scientists are very quick to
  argue that our physical bodies evolved, but very slow to take seriously
  the position that our behavior is the result of evolution as well.

That's because many scientists take to heart past exterience in which
behavioural traits, racial traits, gender traits, class traits, etc.., were
explained as a simplistic evolutionary result, in a way that simply re-enforced
socially encoded stereotypes by assigning then naturalistic ontology. According
to some, sociobiology is deja vu all over again.

  One example of this fact can be seen in the arguments about the incest
  taboo.  In apparently all other species where this has been investigated,
  there are behavioral mechanisms (which can vary from species to species)

???? In what other species except _Homo sapiens_ was this behavioural mechanism
observed?

  to ensure outbreeding.  We also are quite clear on the detrimental
  effects of inbreeding, both in the short and long run.  Yet many
  academics, including Lewontin, believe that the human incest taboo has no
  biological influence at all, and is not the modern result of perhaps a
  billion years of selection against inbreeding.

There are critical differences as to what counts as incest among different
human groups that make the above supposition extremely questionable.

  Regardless of whether or not people accept the sociobiological argument
  on the incest taboo, I am more interested in a separate question: For
  those like Lewontin and Gould, who reject the notion that evolutionary
  biology can have significant explanatory power for behavior in general
  (and human behavior in particular),

This is certainly a strawman.

  exactly what is so crucial about
  getting the public to believe that their bodies evolved, given that they
  don't at the same time have to extend this thinking to their minds?  Put
  another way, if the public were to continue to believe that their minds
  were the result of special creation (either by a god or by themselves),
  how would the world be a better place if we convinced them that their
  bodies were the result of evolution?  What practical benefits would one
  expect to see from such a state of affairs?

What practical efects do you expect to achive by convincing the world that
behavoiur is evolved and biologically encoded?

Asia

_______________________________________________________________________________

<9:28>From gessler@anthro.sscnet.ucla.edu  Tue May  3 19:35:39 1994

From: "Gessler, Nicholas (G)   ANTHRO" <gessler@anthro.sscnet.ucla.edu>
To: DARWIN - postings <DARWIN-L@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu>
Subject: Computational "Artificial Life/Culture"
Date: Tue, 03 May 94 17:39:00 PDT

I've embarked on a project to take the evolutionary algorithmic paradigms
used in the computationally intensive fields of "artificial intelligence" and
"artificial life" and adapt them towards modeling what I have been calling
"Artificial Culture."  It seems to me that this approach would be both
epistemologically and theoretically useful for understanding cultural change
and evolution and the process of hominidization as well.  Basically, it is an
agent based approach.  I model society as a population of individuals which
interact with one another in a virtual world where space, time, and energy
costs/benefits need to be contended with.  The system will eventually evolve,
with fitnesses determined by each individual's success within the virtual
world.  I feel fairly secure with the computational techniques.  I was
wondering if any readers of this List either knew of, or had embarked on
similar projects.  I'd appreciate being connected with any references to
"primitive" elements or behaviors which are both crucial and programmable.
Please reply directly to me.  If there's enough interest, I'll summarize the
results in another Post.  Many thanks...

Nick Gessler

_______________________________________________________________________________

<9:29>From ANWOLFE@ECUVM.CIS.ECU.EDU  Tue May  3 21:09:26 1994

Date: Tue, 03 May 94 21:59:01 EDT
From: ANWOLFE@ECUVM.CIS.ECU.EDU
Subject: Re: Evolution of bodies but not minds
To: Multiple recipients of list <darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu>

On Tom Schoenemann--your comments are confused.  In the first place
incest taboos are only found in humans because a "taboo" is a
cultural determined marriage/mating avoidance practice and varies from
culture to culture ie in one culture marrying your parallel cousin
might be the correct to do but you can't marry your cross cousin
or that would be incest, etc.  Some nonhuman animals have incest avoidance
but that seems to be based on growing up with a relative.  Also, it
has not been shown that inbreeding is necessarily harmful--it depends on
the genes you start with.  Human biologists demonstrated that years ago.
Finally, do not confuse evolutionary biology with sociobiology --
one can believe that the biological basis of human behavior evolved
through the process of evolution without accepting sociobiology.
Linda Wolfe

_______________________________________________________________________________

<9:30>From PICARD@VAX2.CONCORDIA.CA  Tue May  3 21:27:08 1994

Date: Tue, 03 May 1994 22:25:26 -0500 (EST)
From: MARC PICARD <PICARD@VAX2.CONCORDIA.CA>
Subject: Re: Re: Species/Linguistic Death
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

Jerry Koch writes:

  Sure, all languages in use change.
  That's what marks the difference between them and dead languages.  But,
  today,  global communications greatly inhibit the isolation that it requires
  for dialects to become languages in their own right.  To the contrary, I
  believe that as today's technology booms, we will tend to move toward fewer
  and fewer languages.  I might even go so far as to suggest that eventually
  there will be no motivating factors to sustain more than one world language.

Unfortunately, that's not the way it works. People have absolutely
no control over language change because they just can't see - or rather
hear - it, except maybe for a few current buzz words or teenage expressions
that would only constitute an infenitisimal part of linguistic change
anyway. Languages do not need isolation to evolve: just ask any socio-
linguist.

Marc Picard

_______________________________________________________________________________

<9:31>From PICARD@VAX2.CONCORDIA.CA  Tue May  3 22:18:54 1994

Date: Tue, 03 May 1994 22:15:33 -0500 (EST)
From: MARC PICARD <PICARD@VAX2.CONCORDIA.CA>
Subject: Re: Species/Linguistic Death
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

        French and quebecois, as they are actually spoken by real people,
are diverging as rapidly from each other as the other three New World languages
are diverging from their Old World cousins. When one compares their
respective phonological systems, for example, one sees an ever increasing
number of differences. Over the years, Quebecois has acquired (inter alia)
assibilation (/t d/ > /ts dz/ before high front vowels), diphthongization of
long vowels, high vowel laxing, high vowel devoicing, high vowel harmony, etc.
Global communication does not keep dialects from diverging, it only allows
people to have a greater passive knowledge of other dialects. If you
watch a lot of British movies or if you go to Ireland every year, your
comprehension of these dialects will improve a lot.
        The main reason linguistic change never ends is that people are
not aware that it's going on during their lifetime. They observe social
and geographical divergences but they don't sense that there's an evolution
going on.

Marc Picard

_______________________________________________________________________________

<9:32>From ahouse@hydra.rose.brandeis.edu  Tue May  3 22:23:17 1994

Date: Tue, 3 May 1994 23:25:51 -0400
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
From: ahouse@hydra.rose.brandeis.edu (Jeremy Creighton Ahouse)
Subject: Re: Species/Linguistic Death

A good example of the spontaneous creation of languages are the many hand
sign systems that have arisen in deaf communities around the world.  The
arise in the first generation of signers as a partial language, but the
next generation (those who acquire it during those early years of mother
"tongue" language acquisition) get a complete language.  The linguists who
read this group may be able to point us to the key differences.  (For a
longer description; _Seeing voices : a journey into the world of the deaf_
by Oliver Sacks, New York : HarperCollins, 1990.)

        - Jeremy

_______________________________________________________________________________

<9:33>From stef@pipeline.com  Tue May  3 23:40:12 1994

Date: Wed, 4 May 1994 00:23:43 -0400 (EDT)
From: Steve Miller <stef@pipeline.com>
Subject: linguistic/biological evolution
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

Thanks everybody for responding so quickly and comprehensively to my
inital question on whether we see these processes in action to today.  I
found particularly fascinating the more general philosophy of science
comments - this is something I don't know a whole lot about.

A couple general comments: I wasn't trying to imply that the various
mechanisms of evolution aren't at work today - just that speciation is
awfully hard to watch.

In a sense I guess it is a name-it-and-nail-it problem - when are two
languages truly different?  At what point have they diverged?

There's a big unit of study problem inherent in here - one that I think
we also see in evolution in some ways, for instance in deciding whether
coyotes are a separate species from domestic dogs and wolves.  These
animals apparenlty will interbreed in some instances.

I am reminded, also, of a paper I recently read in Orientalism and the
Postcolonial Predicament (1992 or 3, Van der Veer and Brecker, eds., as
I recall, don't have it with me, sorry) about the status of certain
languages in precolonial and early colonial India - Urdu and Hindustani, for
instance.  In what sense were the various patterns of utterances found
separable languages?  For the British it turned out to be very important
to identify specific languages which, for them, had in some sense
separate essences.  This of course made it very important to certain
groups to have their language recognized as the official one...

So in this way the identification of language change and the discreteness
of languages makes a difference in the real world.  And the same is of
course true with species - for instance is the spotted owl a true
species, or has it, as some have suggested, been, er, spotted in Northern
California, too?

One thing that occurs to me is that, with the increasing interpenetration
of media and common experiences of the new, and increasing knowledge of
others, could it be that we will go back to a pattern resembling that of
precolonial India, with a sort of gradually changing patois characterizing our
language over space?  Or maybe it's always been that way to some extent and
discreteness is just a simplifying assumption of Western science that we will
eventually be able to chuck in favor of complexity, if we are ever ready to
embrace a non-discrete world....

_______________________________________________________________________________

<9:34>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu  Wed May  4 00:03:00 1994

Date: Wed, 04 May 1994 01:03:14 -0500 (EST)
From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu
Subject: May 4 -- Today in the Historical Sciences
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Organization: University of NC at Greensboro

MAY 4 -- TODAY IN THE HISTORICAL SCIENCES

1556: LUCA GHINI dies at Bologna, Italy.  One of the founders of modern
botany, Ghini was born in Croara d'Imola around 1490.  He studied medicine
at the University of Bologna and taught at Bologna for many years, devising a
method of preserving plants by pressing, drying, and mounting them on cards to
produce the first modern herbarium or "hortus siccus".  Ghini left Bologna in
1544 to take up a professorship at the University of Pisa, and he established
there one of the first university botanical gardens.  He travelled extensively
in the vicinity of Pisa and Bologna collecting specimens for his garden and
herbarium, and his scientific correspondents sent him botanical material from
as far away as Egypt.  Although he published little during his life, Ghini
numbered among his students an entire generation of early modern European
botanists, including Andrea Cesalpino, Ulisse Aldrovandi, Luigi Anguillara,
William Turner, and John Falconer.

1816: THOMAS OLDHAM is born in Dublin, Ireland.  Following undergraduate
study at Trinity College, Dublin, Oldham will travel to Edinburgh where he
will study geology and mineralogy with Robert Jameson.  In 1839 he will return
to Ireland where he will work initially for the Ordnance Survey, and later be
appointed professor of geology at Trinity.  His successful geological work in
Ireland will lead to his appointment as geological surveyor to the British
East India Company, and eventually to the founding of a Geological Survey of
India.  His report _On the Coal Resources of India_ will appear in 1864, and
he will superintend the creation of many Indian geological journals, including
the Survey's _Palaeontological Indica_ in 1861.

Today in the Historical Sciences is a feature of Darwin-L, an international
network discussion group for professionals in the historical sciences.  For
more information about Darwin-L send the two-word message INFO DARWIN-L to
listserv@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu, or gopher to rjohara.uncg.edu (152.13.44.19).

_______________________________________________________________________________

<9:35>From dasher@netcom.com  Wed May  4 01:19:53 1994

Date: Tue, 3 May 1994 23:21:38 -0700
From: dasher@netcom.com (Anton Sherwood)
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: languages and dialects

>	Every current dialect has the potential of becoming a
> full-fledged language given a sufficient amount of time.

"A language is a dialect with an army and navy."
	--Max Weinreich (1894-1969)

_______________________________________________________________________________

<9:36>From ronald@uhunix.uhcc.Hawaii.Edu  Wed May  4 04:03:45 1994

Date: Tue, 3 May 94 23:04:08 HST
From: Ron Amundson <ronald@uhunix.uhcc.Hawaii.Edu>
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: G∧L, Evolution and Behavior

Tom Schoenemann finds it puzzling that Gould and Lewontin endorse
the aim of improving the education regarding evolution in biology
courses in the schools on the grounds that:

"both Gould
and Lewontin (but particularly the latter) believe that the application
of evolutionary theory to human BEHAVIOR is misguided, dangerous, etc.
In fact it seems to be generally true that scientists are very quick to
argue that our physical bodies evolved, but very slow to take seriously
the position that our behavior is the result of evolution as well."

Some of the suppressed premises of this argument have already been
noted (e.g. by Asia Lerner) -- that it assumes that sociobiology is
THE application of evolutionary theory to human behavior, and that the
only (or a primary) value to evolutionary education is to teach
students "how their behavior evolved" or some such goal.

In addition I'd like to point out that neither Gould nor Lewontin has
(to my knowledge) claimed that evolutionary theory is inapplicable to
behavior.  In fact I've heard Lewontin say that behavior is the single
most important unsolved problem in evolutionary biology -- this in
response to a student who (like Tom) misinterpreted his criticisms of
sociobiology to be a rejection of the relevance of evolution to
behavior.  In a similar (similarly narrow-thinking) vein, E.O. Wilson
responded to the first leftist critiques of sociobiology (in a late
'70s _BIOSCIENCE_ issue, I believe) by pronouncing the critics to be
neo-Skinnerian environmentalists, with _all_ behavior environmentally
controlled.  Such an innate-vs-learned distinction is several orders
of magnitude too crude to be relevant in an evolutionary context.
(IMHO, of course.)

For indications of how Lewontin might locate behavior within
evolutionary biology see "The Organism as Subject and Object of
Evolution," a Chapter in _The Dialectical Biologist_.  Precursors of
this approach include Waddington (who, I believe, was a post-doc
director of Lewontin's) and the late lamented "Baldwin Effect"
co-discovered (co-invented) by James Mark Baldwin, C. Lloyd Morgan,
and H. F. Osborn.  In a 'forthcoming' paper (in 1994, it is to be
hoped) I argue that the Hawaiian missionary/socialist/evolutionist
J.T. Gulick is a precursor and possible influence on the formulation
of the Baldwin Effect.

IMHO (again) to claim that G∧L reject "the application of evolutionary
theory to behavior" _because_ they reject crude human sociobiology is
like claiming that modern astronomers reject "the application of
planetary astronomy to the earth" _because_ they reject Velikovsky.

Cheers,

Ron Amundson
ronald@uhunix.bitnet
ronald@uhunix.uhcc.hawaii.edu

_______________________________________________________________________________

<9:37>From GRM1001@phx.cam.ac.uk  Wed May  4 05:10:03 1994

Date: Wed, 04 May 94 11:09:48 BST
From: GRM1001@phx.cam.ac.uk
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: Naming and essentialism.

Bob O'Hara relayed the following a question from Kevin de Queiroz regarding the
relationship between "essences" and the naming of organisms:

    "I want to say that essentialist tend to think that certain names are
     'correct' or proper for certain things because they tend to view names
     as abbreviated descriptions of essences.  It's fairly obvious that they
     do this but I can't find anything written about it.  Do you know anything
     that I am overlooking?  Nobody seems to say much about the names
     themselves."

What luck!  It so happens that I'm working on just such a project.
At present I'm just completing a book-length manuscript entitled "Species,
Names and Things" which describes the historical, philosophical and
sociological aspects of species naming, including struggle over language and
"essences".  (Although I hesitate before that word.  The history of natural
history is much more complicated than the "essentialist/anti-essentialist"
dichotomy would lead us to believe.)  This work covers the history of species
and species naming from the immediate pre-Darwinian period up until the birth
of the so-called "biological species concept" during the Modern Synthesis of
the 1930s and 40s.  Hopefully, it will offer a fresh look at the hist. of
natural history and biology that avoids some of the pitfalls of post-hoc
categorisation so common in much of the literature.

A related paper, entitled "Species, Rules and Radical Meanings", should be
published in the fall in *Studies in the History and Philosophy of Science.*
It uncovers the claims of radical (politically and taxonomically) post-Linnean
essentialists of the early nineteenth century and delves into Darwin's
response, which led directly to the drafting of the first "Rules of Zoological
Nomenclature", published in the BAAS Report of 1842.

In the meantime Kevin de Q. might want to look at fine piece by Antonello
La Vergata, "Au nom de l'espece. Classification et nomenclature au 19 siecle."
in Scott Atran, et al, *Histoire du concept d'espece dans les sciences de la
vie* (Paris: Fondation Singer-Polignac, 1987).  There La Vergatta discusses the
relationship between essentialism and species naming.

The philosopher John Beatty has published something on this in his
contribution to the book, *Darwinian Heritage*, edited by David Kohn and in
the collection edited by Michael Ruse, *Nature Animated*.

And, I seem to recall that E. Stresseman (sp?) has a bit on this topic in his
history of Ornithology.

But, all of the above authors base their work on the
essentialist/anti-essentialist dichotomy, which really doesn't work.
But, that's opening up a whole can of worms....

If anyone knows of any other resources or people working in this area, I'd
be most happy to hear from them.

Thanks.

Gordon McOuat
Dept. of History and Philosophy of Science
University of Cambridge
Free School Lane
Cambridge  CB2 3RH
England.
email: grm1001@phx.cam.ac.uk

_______________________________________________________________________________

<9:38>From margaret@ling.edinburgh.ac.uk  Wed May  4 05:14:14 1994

Date: Wed, 4 May 94 10:54:57 BST
From: Margaret Winters <margaret@ling.edinburgh.ac.uk>
Subject: language convergence and divergence
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

I think Marc Picard is quite correct in citing the fact
that people are largely unaware of language change as a
reason that there can be no stopping of change.  But there
is another factor as well that comes to mind, especially
with groups like Quebecois versus European French speakers,
and that is the question of national identity.  Even though
world-wide communication is more and more impressive every
year (or so), Quebecois speakers do not want to speak the
French of France and European French speakers are, if anything,
much more decidedly against sounding like Canadian French
speakers.  To the extent that there is anything that is con-
scious or can be brought to conciousness by speakers, these
attitudes are what there is.  A more constrained example, well
known within linguistics, is Labov's discovery of vowel changes
taking place on Martha's Vineyard off the coast of Massachusetts.
Labov found, by looking at all the sociolinguistic variables, that
the change was occurring most in natives of the island who identified
with island life - as opposed to the life of the summer visitors
who crowd the place every year.  The more the year-round islanders
wanted to be seen as natives, the more their vowels centralized.  It is much
more efficient to have one world language in terms of basic com-
munication, but too many other factors (than pure efficiency) will
always intervene.

Cheers,
Margaret Winters

_______________________________________________________________________________

<9:39>From CRAVENS@macc.wisc.edu  Wed May  4 06:53:58 1994

Date: Wed, 04 May 94 06:53 CDT
From: Tom Cravens <CRAVENS@macc.wisc.edu>
Subject: naming - discreteness
To: DARWIN-L@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

On naming, discussion of interest from a linguistic viewpoint can be found
in a 1991 book edited by Roger Wright, entitled, I think, Latin and Romance
in the Early Middle Ages. Most relevant is the paper by Paul Lloyd, who
follows the idea in Wright 1982 (Late Latin and Early Romance) that before
Charlemagne, literate people in Romance Europe wrote Latin but didn't speak
it, and that when they read from (what now looks like) a Latin text, what
came out was the local Romance vernacular of whoever was reading. The
situation was not unlike the modern one of English, in which antiquated
spelling is accepted as normal (w-r-i-g-h-t representing [rait]), and
the difference between modern English speakers from Dublin, York, Cape Town,
Atlanta, etc. reading the same text aloud and that of Early Romance speakers
from Nantes, Coimbra, Toledo, Milan, etc. reading their Latin-looking text
is one of degree, not kind. The point: Lloyd argues essentially that there
were not distinct names for these varieties until figures in authority
decided to give them names.

On discreteness, the idea (and situation) of closely cognate languages
spreading more or less uniformly over a territory, and starting and stopping
at national borders (e.g. Spanish in Spain, French in France, Italian in
Italy) is rather modern, at least in the European context, in
great part the result of the creation of relatively large nation-states.
The politically unfettered development was of a continuum of cognate
languages. Near homogeneity may seem normal in the miniworld of anglophone
North America, but it's really exceptional, and--again in the European
context--is relative to the strength of central authority, the degree to
which that authority has decided to impose the prestige dialect, the degree
to which speakers of non-prestige languages find it (economically) convenient
to adopt the prestige dialect, and the length of time that imposition
has been taking place. On the whole, it would appear that linguistic
homogeneity within a territory signals either relatively recent settlement
(and eradication of previous languages) or strong central authority (and
eradication of previous languages). -- For a detailed look at what happened
in France, see R. Anthony Lodge. 1993. French from Dialect to Standard.
London; Routledge.

Tom Cravens
cravens@macc.wisc.edu
cravens@wiscmacc.bitnet

_______________________________________________________________________________

<9:40>From LARRYS@psc.plymouth.edu  Wed May  4 08:13:08 1994

Date: Wed, 04 May 1994 09:13:12 -0500 (EST)
From: LARRYS@psc.plymouth.edu
Subject: Re: Re: Species/Linguistic Death
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Organization: Plymouth State College, Plymouth NH

An interesting thought just occurred to me.  What seems to be happening
globally (and I know many will flame me for this) is that English is
becoming the universal language.  I spent a year in China.  In China,
the national language is Putunghua (Mandarin), but everywhere we went
in China the people that spoke Mandarin spoke it slightly different from
those of another region.  In addition to standard Chinese, every region
had its own dialect.  The only thing that was totally common was the
character set.  Now, I know that the English alphabet has a totally
different functionality from Chinese characters, but my interesting
thought is this.  Increased global communication via written communication
will standardize written English as the global language, but in oral
English, dialects and regional word useage will follow the pattern of
dialects and Mandarin variants as seen in China.  We could see this in
China where some student had been taught their English by Americans,
while others had learned English from Australians.  I had no problem
distinquishing between the two speakers.

Larry T. Spencer
Natural Science Dept.
Plymouth State College
Plymouth, NH 03264
larrys@psc.plymouth.edu

_______________________________________________________________________________

<9:41>From BONN@nickel.laurentian.ca  Wed May  4 08:16:14 1994

Date: Wed, 04 May 1994 09:10:03 -0500 (EST)
From: "Bonnie Blackwell, (519)253-4232x2502" <BONN@nickel.laurentian.ca>
Subject: Re: Re: Species/Linguistic Death
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

RE comments by L. Gorbet:

I am not sure that your comments about the split in the latin languages
parallels today's situation as closely as you claim.  At the time of the
split, only the clergy and some of the intellectuals used latin regularly.
Because most of the populations received minimal formal education, and
even the wealthy/powerful often did not read and write, there was likely
to be very little cultural pressure to maintaining the "pure" (grammatically
correct latin with proper pronounciations) latin.  Except in church few
people heard latin regularly.  Even in church, that latin was often ritualized,
and hence, perhaps viewed by the general populace as a "priest class
privilege".

Today on the contrary, education reaches at least some significant part of the
population.  Books and magazines are widely available and widely read (although
one might question the grammatical correctness of many publications).
Most of our media uses the "standard" grammar (with some lapses) and pro-
nounciation of the "norm" dialect.  Thanks to the media, there is a
reasonable chance that you might be exposed to aussie english in northern
england, or louisiania english in gambia, depending on what TV shows
are being purchased by what networks.  In Windsor, in an average week
i can watch shows carrying accents and grammar from Aus, central London, UK,
various other brit shows with less determinate sources, black US english,
and deep south english, not to mention cdn and american standard english.

Bonn@nickel.laurentian.ca
bonnie blackwell

_______________________________________________________________________________

<9:42>From BONN@nickel.laurentian.ca  Wed May  4 08:34:17 1994

Date: Wed, 04 May 1994 09:24:52 -0500 (EST)
From: "Bonnie Blackwell, (519)253-4232x2502" <BONN@nickel.laurentian.ca>
Subject: Re: Re: Species/Linguistic Death
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

To marc Picard,
Would you please provide proof of your statement, "Languages do not need
isolation to evolve."  It was provacative but without an example rather
hard to believe.

_______________________________________________________________________________

<9:43>From BONN@nickel.laurentian.ca  Wed May  4 08:52:13 1994

Date: Wed, 04 May 1994 09:45:55 -0500 (EST)
From: "Bonnie Blackwell, (519)253-4232x2502" <BONN@nickel.laurentian.ca>
Subject: Re: G∧L, Evolution and Behavior
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

I for one would like to hear both Gould's and Lewontin's replies
to these arguments.  That way we would know what they REALLY do
feel, not what others think they feel.  Can we not ask them?

_______________________________________________________________________________

<9:44>From CRAVENS@macc.wisc.edu  Wed May  4 09:37:21 1994

Date: Wed, 04 May 94 09:37 CDT
From: Tom Cravens <CRAVENS@macc.wisc.edu>
Subject: Re: Species/Linguistic Death
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

Re comments by Bonnie Blackwell and L. Gorbet:

Actually, if Wright is correct (see my previous posting), there are close
parallels between Latin and English developments. Wright argues that
before Charlemagne's time not even clergy and intellectuals actually
spoke Latin, if they were native speakers of a variety of Romance. They
wrote high-register archaic versions of their native languages with Latin
spelling, not entirely unlike what modern Brits, Yanks, etc. do (lexical
mismatches are substitutable; those who've read British stories to
American children, or vice versa, may be familiar with this -- stretching
the point a bit, cf. the extreme case of reading _lb._ as 'pound').
In this view, it's not until one-letter, one-sound reading of Latin is
(re-)introduced in the 800s that pervasive consciousness of Latin vs.
Romance arises, and thus, the already existing distinctions of numerous
evolved varieties are recognized, these are named, and thus *appear* in
the documentation suddenly to split, to be "born", and so on. The split
and/or language birth is a mirage, though, in part epiphenomenal of
reform in mapping letter to sound. What really seems to have happened
was a gradual differentiation in the language planted by Romans centuries
before, parallel to what is still happening both in Britain and in former
and present anglophone colonies.

Tom Cravens
cravens@macc.wisc.edu
cravens@wiscmacc.bitnet

_______________________________________________________________________________

<9:45>From ad201@freenet.carleton.ca  Wed May  4 09:59:31 1994

Date: Wed, 4 May 1994 11:00:01 -0400
From: ad201@FreeNet.Carleton.CA (Donald Phillipson)
To: Darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: Language evolution

MARC PICARD <PICARD@VAX2.CONCORDIA.CA> wrote Tue, 03 May 1994 to
Darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

>        Every current dialect has the potential of becoming a
>full-fledged language given a sufficient amount of time. Phonological,
>morphological, syntactic and semantic change are constant, inexorable
>and irrepressible for the most part.

Is this an empirical observation or a pious generalization?  This
non-linguist (linguisticist) doesn't see why people should expect
change in languages to be constant, any more than change in biological
evolution (cf. punctuated equilibrium rather than Darwinian
gradualism.)

>Mutual comprehension, which is
>probably the most useful criterion for establishing the difference
>between dialect and language, can cease to exist pretty rapidly when
>there is little or no contact between members of an erstwhile speech
>community that has split up.

Biology also suggests the rule that interbreeding differentiates
varieties from species.  Do linguists use this too, to distinguish
languages (like biological species) from dialects (varieties)?

>For example, Dutch and Afrikaans appear
>to have become different languages in a remarkably short time.
>        The same forces that turned Latin into various dialects and,
>with time, into French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Catalan,
>Rumanian, etc., are now at work on the latter so that the French,
>Spanish and Portuguese of the New World, for instance, are irrevocably
>becoming less and less comprehensible to their Old World cousins (and
>vice versa).

My previous question indicates uncertainty about this, because
Dutch-speakers (e.g. my wife, from central Holland) say they
understand Afrikaans at least as well as they do the dialects of
Limburg, and very much better than that of Friesland.

>        The next time you see subtitles when people in Northern
>Ireland or Australia are being interviewed for North American news
>broadcasts and documentaries, you can take this as a sign of things to
>come.

Canadian TV news seems to have begun in 1993 frequently subtitling
people with difficult accents, from Canadian dialect regions e.g.
Newfoundland, as well as Jugoslavs speaking English etc.

Bonnie Blackwell, (519)253-4232x2502" <BONN@nickel.laurentian.ca>
wrote  Tue, 03 May 1994 16:14:55 -0500 (EST)

>I might have thought that much of the separation of say French and Quebecois
>occurred in the early years of colonization, rather than recently.  With
>modern global communications, I would have thought that French and Quebecois
>were converging somewhat or at least not diverging.  Comments?

Proposition 1 seems factual, i.e. verifiable.  (Not being a linguist I
cannot guess why BB expects divergence earlier rather than later.)

Proposition 2 is also factual, but BB implies a symmetry that may be
unjustified.  If French French and Quebec French were converging
(which could no doubt be measured by discipinary rather than personal
methods) I should be surprised if Quebec influenced France as much and
as fast as vice versa.

Both prior messages seem to neglect, in a peculiarly North American
way, differences between written and oral language.  Educated in
England to age 20, I was told there that oral language came first and
written language only later.  This explains (for example) how Modern
English evolved out of Middle English (Chaucer), why Shakespeare did
not spell consistently, etc.

On arrival in N. America I was surprised at the far greater reverence
for print I encountered here -- and ultimately formed the hypothesis
(never tested) that it had to do with the frontier schoolmarm (or at
least her image in popular culture.)  Bearing alone the burden of a
whole village's connection with the rest of world culture, the
frontier schoolmarm naturally felt safer relying on "objective" print
rather than personal memory as the basis of her curriculum.  One of
the consequences is that it is normal in N. America to seek to
pronounce every written letter in such words as forehead, laboratory,
library, police, etc., which the British would most often pronounce as
"forrid, laboratry, libry, pleece" etc.

--
 |          Donald Phillipson, 4180 Boundary Rd., Carlsbad         |
 |        Springs, Ont., Canada K0A 1K0; tel: (613) 822-0734       |
 |  "What I've always liked about science is its independence from |
 |  authority"--Ontario Science Centre (name on file) 10 July 1981 |

_______________________________________________________________________________

<9:46>From sarich@qal.berkeley.edu  Wed May  4 10:36:32 1994

From: Prof Vince Sarich <sarich@qal.Berkeley.EDU>
Date: Wed, 4 May 1994 08:30:41 -0700
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: Lewontin, Gould, and behavioral creationism

Bonnie Blackwell asks:

  I for one would like to hear both Gould's and Lewontin's replies
  to these arguments.  That way we would know what they REALLY do
  feel, not what others think they feel.  Can we not ask them?

Lewontin has written, along with Steven Rose and Leon Kamin, a book whose
title, Not in Our Genes (Random House, 1984), tells us exactly what he thinks
about the connection between human genes and human behavior.

Gould has given us much the same message in his Natural History essays, and,
in particular, in his Mismeasure of Man (Norton, 1981).  There he manages to
spend the first 2 chapters (100 or so pages) telling us that brain size and
intellectual performance have nothing to do with one another without once
noting that our brains have not always been the size they are today.  Nor is
that awkward fact mentioned anywhere else in the book.  I've always thought
that the reason for this curious omission is that Gould is too good a biologist
to not appreciate that the only way the human brain could have almost tripled
in size in the last 2 million years was if larger-brained individuals were in
some way advantaged over smaller-brained ones.  How advantaged? Well -- dare
one say it? -- by being smarter. What else?  But Gould also saw where that
would lead, and so the inconvenient fact of human evolution was simply ignored.

Nonetheless, I too would appreciate Lewontin and Gould giving us their current
thoughts on the topic.

Vincent Sarich

_______________________________________________________________________________

<9:47>From PICARD@VAX2.CONCORDIA.CA  Wed May  4 11:36:47 1994

Date: Wed, 04 May 1994 11:43:35 -0500 (EST)
From: MARC PICARD <PICARD@VAX2.CONCORDIA.CA>
Subject: Re: Re: Species/Linguistic Death
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

	Some of Bonnie Blackwell's comments concerning grammatical
correctness are very confusing to a linguist. Such a concept only makes
sense if one makes value judgments on the basis of some prestige dialect.
No dialect in and of itself can possibly be ungrammatical or grammatically
incorrect. This is as absurd as speaking of biological correctness, or
claiming that some animals are unbiological.
	One of the major sources of misconceptions about language and
its evolution is the tendency for literate people to forget that it is
(still) first and foremost an oral phenomenon. Most people in this world
still can't read, and the children who do learn how only do so after they've
become full-fledged speakers. The fundamentals of language, i.e. semantics,
syntax, morphology and phonology, are definitely not learned from books
and magazines.
	A lot of people think they know what a language is because they
speak one. They also conceive of language in terms of (written) words
instead of structures that are put together using a bunch of universal
and language-specific rules which is really what children learn. In the
transmission of those rules, changes occur at every level. This creates
diversity, and this process is ongoing and unstoppable. Finally, the idea
that there might one day be only one language in the world is about as
plausible as the idea that there might be only one kind of animal life.

Marc Picard

_______________________________________________________________________________

<9:48>From phlkcs@gsusgi2.gsu.edu  Wed May  4 11:49:52 1994

Date: Wed, 4 May 1994 12:46:55 -0400 (EDT)
From: "Kelly C. Smith" <phlkcs@gsusgi2.gsu.edu>
Subject: Re: Species/Linguistic Death
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

On Mon, 2 May 1994, Rebecca Fodden wrote:

> Steve:  It seems to me that evolutionary theory only works in hindsight.
> We take a situation as it is now, and tell a story about how it could
> have gotten to this stage.  If we're lucky, we find a story that fits
> with all our evidence -- saves the phenomena, so to speak.  Becuause it's
> not the kind of theory that allows for predictions (in a sense, to say
> that something "survived" is to say no more than that it must have been
> "fittest", and vice versa), the kind of forward-looking project you
> describe seems to me not within the reach of evolutionary theory.

I just can't let this go without comment.  Properly formulated, (in terms
of propensity accounts) evolutionary theory is not tautologous and
predicts all kinds of future dynamics quite well (which is why selective
breeding works).

> I'm writing a philosophy of science paper right now on explanation, and
> the asymmetry of explanation and prediction in evolutionary theory is
> intersting to me.  If you (or anybody) wants to talk about this that
> would be great.

I'd love to see the paper, though I can predict that I won't agree with
much of it....

Kelly Smith
phlkcs@gsusgi2.gsu.edu

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<9:49>From margaret@ling.edinburgh.ac.uk  Wed May  4 11:57:22 1994

Date: Wed, 4 May 94 16:16:02 BST
From: Margaret Winters <margaret@ling.edinburgh.ac.uk>
Subject: English as a world language
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

Larry Spencer is afraid of being flamed for stating that
English is becoming a world language.  On the contrary,
all indications point that way -- what is most interesting
is that it is not all one kind of English; we are not
talking about specifically American or British imperialism,
although it must have begun through both of those.  For
those who don't want to see English in this (perhaps) em-
barrassing situation, you can go to the Czech Republic (as
I did a couple of weeks ago - outside of Prague, to be specific)
and find that German will get you much further than English.  But
I know this is exceptional and changing quickly as well.

Margaret Winters
margaret@ling.ed.ac.uk

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<9:50>From BONN@nickel.laurentian.ca  Wed May  4 12:03:12 1994

Date: Wed, 04 May 1994 12:55:31 -0500 (EST)
From: "Bonnie Blackwell, (519)253-4232x2502" <BONN@nickel.laurentian.ca>
Subject: Re: Language evolution
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

i might wonder whether all brits would pronounce forehead as "forrid",
or if that only occurs in the "lower classes"?  Well educated brits have
always sounded to me like they were saying "forhead", although I admit
they often added an "r" sound here and there that did appear in print.
Also was it that the schoolmarm felt unsure of herself or that she wanted
her charges to feel they could walk into lunch with the queen and not feel
like a hick?
Bonn

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Darwin-L Message Log 9: 1-50 -- May 1994                                    End

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